It's finally time to turn the page on preseason practices, scrimmages and all other musings that come with football in the summer.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, high school football is back. It's time to make some predictions.
Staples (0-0) vs. St. Joseph (0-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
Just how good is Staples?
I'm afraid that we might have to wait a while--maybe even until the first real test Oct. 27 at Darien--to be able to fully answer that. Starting with Friday's curtain-raiser against St. Joseph, Staples' first five games are against teams that were .500 or worse last fall.
That's not exactly a steep hill to climb, especially for a team that won the FCIAC championship and finished a game shy of a perfect season. They likely won't get more than brownie points when that stretch is through. The Wreckers expect to win those games, everyone else expects the Wreckers to win those games, and on we go.
St. Joseph struggled last year--rather mightily at times--to replenish the talent that won the S state title in 2010, and likely still has steps to take before rejoining the conference's powers. The Cadets went 4-6 with three of those wins against non-competitive programs Harding, Bassick and Trinity Catholic.
Staples, meanwhile, is on the other end of the spectrum. The frame for another long season is intact. There's plenty of reason to believe that the Wreckers are the team to beat.
The Cadets should be better and won't represent a walk-over, but this still shouldn't be much of a test for an explosive Staples team. The Wreckers can change the game in a flash with their talent at the skill positions and just have too much firepower.
Couple that with the fact that the lights will finally be on, making this the first night game in Staples Stadium history, and you'll notice a considerable homefield advantage.
There's a lot to like about Staples in this one. Pick: Staples 38, St. Joseph 13
Weston (0-0) vs. Notre Dame-Fairfield (0-0),
Saturday, 1 p.m.
Weston is somewhat of a mystery.
First, let's start with the good: The Trojans put together a strong season last fall, finishing 7-3, and return a three-year starter at quarterback, senior Tyler Hassett. Although head coach Joe Lato insists that the roster's down in numbers, the Trojans have the talent on both sides of the ball to simply get it done. They're not always flashy, but no one's counting. This isn't the BCS where wins count and style points count a lot more.
It's tough to gauge if Weston will be better, worse or about the same this fall, but at least in the first weekend, the Trojans should settle in nicely. Notre-Dame Fairfield went 1-9 last fall and is still putting the pieces together.
This has Weston written all over it. Pick: Weston 31, Notre-Dame Fairfield 6
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